Service Responses for Survivors of Conflict and Post-Conflict Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Torture in the Great Lakes Region


Liebling, Helen. 2018. "Service Responses for Survivors of Conflict and Post-Conflict Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Torture in the Great Lakes Region." In Global Health and Security: Critical Feminist Perspectives, edited by Colleen O'Manique and Pieter Fourie, 28-44. Milton Park: Routledge.

Author: Helen Liebling


This chapter proposes that the impact of conflict and post-conflict sexual violence and torture on survivors has often been misunderstood by service providers, academics, and policy makers. It argues for an alternative conceptualisation that is gendered and recognises the devastating impact on survivors’ reproductive and psychological health based on research carried out in the Great Lakes region of Africa. The importance of placing the voices of survivors central in the security debate is highlighted. Sexual violence and torture are violations of survivors’ rights; their bodies, health, and their right to justice need to go hand in hand. Holistic service responses for survivors and a model of care for service providers are required. It is important that such approaches remain sensitive to gender differences, cultural context, and informed by a considered understanding and normalisation of the impact of traumatic experiences. It is argued that services should address stigma and shame as barriers to service access and hence effective responses. In conjunction with restorative justice processes and social support, this would effectively build on the resilience and reconstruction of identities of survivors and their communities.

Keywords: torture, violence, sexual violence, service provider, gender, health, justice, shame, normalization, social support, gender-specific factors, reconstruction, community, experience, resilience

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Security, Sexual Violence, Torture Regions: Africa, East Africa

Year: 2018

© 2024 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at